K League appeals court order to revise 2016 playoff results

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K League appeals court order to revise 2016 playoff results

Korea’s pro football league said Thursday that it has filed an appeal against a mediation order from a local court that recommended amending last year’s promotion playoff result.


Seongnam FC players react after losing to Gangwon FC in a promotion playoff at Tancheon Stadium in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, on Nov. 20, 2016. [YONHAP]

The K League said it filed an appeal with the Seoul Central District Court to challenge its mediation committee’s order that the second leg of the promotion playoff match between Seongnam FC and Gangwon FC on Nov. 20, 2016, should be forfeited. The mediators said Seongnam should have been awarded a 3-0 win since Gangwon used an ineligible player.

Under the Judicial Conciliation of Civil Disputes Act, a trial begins when one party files an appeal within two weeks following court-supervised mediations.

“If we award a 3-0 victory to Seongnam, it will bring chaos to the league system because the promotion result will change,” an official from the K League said. “In order to stably operate the league, we had no choice but to appeal.”

Seongnam, which finished 11th in the top-flight K League Classic in 2016, had to face then-second-tier club Gangwon in the two-leg playoff series to remain in the first division for the 2017 season. However, Seongnam failed to clear the mission as they lost to Gangwon on the away goals rule.

Seongnam played to a scoreless draw in the first leg on the road before picking up a 1-1 stalemate at home in the second leg. The result dropped Seongnam to the second division for the first time in their club history, a real shocker for the seven-time first-division winners.

Seongnam claimed that then-Gangwon midfielder Sergio Paulo Nascimento Filho, better known as Serginho, was ineligible to play in the second leg because he was under investigation by Korean police over using a fake passport. The club claimed that thus, it should be given a 3-0 win by forfeit.

Serginho had dual citizenship in Brazil and Syria when he joined Gangwon last June through the league’s Asian player quota.

However, it turned out his Syrian passport had been doctored, and the 29-year-old footballer eventually had to be kicked out of Korea.

Seongnam then tried to appeal to the K League office about the playoff result and Gangwon’s use of an ineligible player. But after their effort was rejected, the club decided to take a legal step and filed a court-supervised civil mediation.

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